some teams are already in midseason form pic.twitter.com/2yOQWcOzXc
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 11, 2022
Whew. Let’s all take a deep breath. Sunday’s season opener between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons was a roller coaster ride from start to finish, peaking in the fourth quarter with a 16-point New Orleans rally for the huge road win.
And you can see this roller coaster laid out in a helpful graphic with this week’s win probability chart. Initially shared by the Athletic’s Nate Tice, you can explore the chart in greater detailing at NumberFire. It factors in all plays — scores, big gains, negative yardage, critical down results, all of them — to estimate win probability on a per-snap basis and fully illustrate the game.
Everything is there: Younghoe Koo’s early-game field goal that gave Atlanta the lead, and a couple of big plays from Taysom Hill that swung it the other way, with the odds climbing in New Orleans’ favor. But then things took a turn, and a sharp dip to almost guarantee the win for Atlanta. At its lowest point, the game had a 95.52% chance of going the other way.
Then the Saints offense shook off the rust, Michael Thomas bullied top Falcons corner A.J. Terrell for a couple of touchdown catches, and the black and gold came out on top. It was quite a ride, and seeing it laid out like this is fascinating. It’s a unique postmortem on yet another Falcons second-half collapse.
You can change the coach, and the quarterback, but the Falcons are still the Falcons. They’ll keep losing games like this in a bleak echo of their Super Bowl LI defeat until the end of time. This is who they, are this is what they do. And the Saints will be there to benefit from it.